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Bernie Griffen is a household name in New Zealand’s country, folk and Americana scene. Host of the 95bFM Border radio show, Griffen releases third album Friday 25th May. Doors Wide Open is the second album from Bernie Griffen & The Thin Men but features a different lineup of musicians and is the first in which he shares the production and recording with long time partner Kirsten Warner.
There’s no point beating around the bush, Bernie never has. This is Griffen’s best yet – the lyrics, the arrangements, the performance.
From the opening track, and first single, ‘My Brain Exploded’, we’re launched straight into the self-portrait and a jaunty exploration of scrambled thinking and relationship negotiation. It’s a testament to both his own sense of imperfection and to his long-standing relationship with Kirsten Warner.
“You’ve been asking questions of my behaviour, I feel like a body full of swollen glands. You laugh and cry and look at me/ Love and doubt and fury in your eyes/ Why can’t you be, a steady man/ And all I can do is sigh.”
Griffen jokes, “Who would write a song about not being able to pay attention? At my age?”
The song is set to a Latin rhythm and is the first of many seamless shifts through genres across the album. From country, blues, folk to the swamp infused or psychedelic country, Doors Wide Open shows us the breadth of interest, writing and style that Griffen and the musicians he surrounds himself with can offer.